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Nancy Smith

Making the First Family Unwelcome in Palm Beach

November 22, 2017 - 8:30am

The clogged roads and strict security protocols that hurt local businesses and frustrate residents in Palm Beach ... they're all back. President Donald Trump is home for Thanksgiving.

Truth be told, a lot of Palm Beach Countians would have preferred he ate his turkey somewhere else. And they said so Tuesday evening in often ugly-worded signs along the route to Mar-A-Lago.

Oh, the first family's arrival at Palm Beach International Airport at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday went well enough. By all accounts, the president spent several minutes greeting and signing autographs for cheering supporters before he, first lady Melania and their son Barron joined the waiting motorcade.

But it deteriorated from there. Mostly.

For every "Welcome Home, Mr. President" sign I saw in news reports of the trip, locals hoisted perhaps three "Get Off My Lawn," "Hurry Back to Washington," "You Should Pay a Toll to Use Our Roads," or similar messages of you're-not-welcome-here.

Surprisingly, messages less about President Trump's policy than the train of disruption he brings with him to the island. 

"He paralyzes our lives when he comes to town," Palm Beach travel consultant Lara St. Clair told Sunshine State News Tuesday night. "He's killing us. We're in freeze mode until Air Force One is airborne again."

The first holiday weekend Donald Trump brought his presidency home to Mar-A-Lago was a true come-to-Jesus lesson in business loss and lifestyle chaos for locals. It was last February. The New York Times used numbers to tell the story of 2017 President's Day weekend in Palm Beach:

  • "$200,000 in lost fuel sales at a large local airport.
  • "75 no-shows at a new restaurant in just one night.
  • "$60,000 a day to pay overtime to sheriff’s deputies who guard the many closed roads.
  • "250 private flights grounded every day."

Said the Times, "Secret Service rules restricting private flights have grounded operations at Palm Beach County Park Airport in Lantana, nine miles south of Mr. Trump’s club ... That means no parachute jumping, banner advertising, flight lessons or chopper trips. Business owners there are still hoping that a president who campaigned on improving the economic prospects of the little guy will be sympathetic to the havoc his visits wreak."

There are reports everywhere after Tuesday's landing of exasperation over the drain on small businesses and the circuitous routes residents have to drive to avoid two miles of closed roads.

The news was full of grumpy people.

I bring this up because watching the TV coverage Tuesday night, seeing Trump at best cold-shouldered into town, I was struck by the memory of another time, another island -- well, a peninsula, really -- and another president. So many similarities, but a starkly different reaction from a town equally affected by a presidential entourage. The treatment compares like night and day.

Holiday at the Kennedy Compound, 1963
Holiday at the Kennedy Compound, 1963

I was in Hyannis Port, Mass. vacationing with my parents in 1962 during a long Fourth of July holiday, when President John F. Kennedy's motorcade rolled into town. The first family was on its way to the Kennedy Compound. Nothing else on the road moved.

Looking back, I don't recall a single grumpy face. Certainly there were no hostile signs, no rude finger gestures. People waved American flags and blew kisses. They cheered and clapped and jumped up and down, hoping the president would wave back. Kids tried to keep up on their bikes behind the last car in the motorcade.

As I said, I know for a fact Kennedy's presence paralyzed traffic on the long, narrow road into town and made prisoners of residents for hours that day. And I also know because I've read since that the Kennedys' presence in compact Hyannis Port was as disruptive and deleterious to local small business as Trump's has been to Palm Beach County's.

I fear more than just the mood of the town or the state or the nation has changed in 55 years. It seems to me what makes us so different today than we were back then -- so much less tolerant of the clobber a president carries with him -- is less who our president is or whether he's popular or unpopular, because Kennedy had his own policy problems in 1962. And it isn't 9/11 or the threat of terrorism all by themselves that makes us different. 

What I think it is, is the long, stealthy slipping away of civility, and God help us, some collective need to hurt each other with our individual definition of patriotism. It's almost a way of life now. It's less a statement on Donald Trump than it is a statement on ourselves. It shows at times like these. Here we have a simple thing, a president moving within the country, yet we respond not with spontaneity but with a political statement -- the party musters a group of cheerleaders for show -- or we treat it as an almighty nuisance.  

Over the years we Americans have lost some of the best of ourselves.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith 



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Dumb compare situations with one of the most beloved President's ever to the least liked or supported "fake president" in the history of the presidency. What a boneheaded move...

I agree times have changed, and not for the better...but to compare Kennedy to Trump is like comparing the Pope to Aleister Crowley... That first family is more like the Munsters than the Kennedy's...

You prissy Palm Beach residents apparently never leave your enclave environment: The REST of we Floridians endure monumentally increased traffic problems with EVERY Holiday and 'event' created by "Visit Florida" 24/7/365. SO, "get over yourselves "Palm Beach".... and "eat an orange" (before our "State Symbol" all but disappears)!!! "HAPPY THANKSGIVING" to the entire "TRUMP FAMILY" (and entourage): GO MR. PRESIDENT... Welcome BACK to Florida !!!!!!

Ironic all these comments and this article mentioning Jack Kennedy were made on November 22d. That date ring a bell w anyone? .....Anyone?? Yes. Times have certainly changed.

Palm Beach people have NO "gratitude" for what America provides for them, of even HAS PROVIDED FOR THEM... They are nothing more than greedy, unhappy "animals"... That's why the South end of the State must be "cast off" so these "moron 'entitlement' fools" can learn to fend for themselves... or... go the way of Cuba... I'm sure we can find these idiots by their whining & wailing' and "fence these ingrates off" ! GO TRUMP ("Forgive these fools, they know not what they do !"

West Palm Beach crybabies

Dumb Donny says the staff obviously hasn't made an art form of serial lying like he has, but they are getting better watching the master. It's not going to be all golf for the Trumpster, plenty of eating and drinking in the evening to keep that fat watery look.

"J Russ", you're a "wuss",...and quite apparently a member of the "Whining Democrat Tribe" (You might even have learned that in Hillary's new book: "What Happened"/Hillary Roadham Clinton" (Amazing, a book with the Question AND Answer...RIGHT ON THE COVER !

You sound uneducated and dumb! For the record Trump doesn’t drink alcohol !

"Trump is home for Thanksgiving.".............I thought the Trump home was Trump Towers in NY, and Mar-a-lago was his vacation home. He could make PB business owners and residents happy, PLUS save the taxpayers a lot of money if he went to his HOME for short holidays.

Not the difference of presidents because if JFK was alive today he would never be a democrat. It's the political change in America, the rotten fruit that spoiled because the people have taken so much for granted while the subterfuge of the radical left have slithered their tentacles into education, politics, along with other fields embracing our US constitution for their own means. Don't forget, most of the presidents didn't have such protection until after the assassination of president Kennedy. Sorry for the inconvenience. It's the price we all pay as a small piece of our freedom has to be put on hold because of anti American atrocities that have occurred.

Personally, I live on PB island and love when OUR president visits. Those protesting come from Broward and inland PB county.

Thank you Harv for your kind remarks. We have no appreciation for each other. It's a sad state. Offspring are being raised to think everything is owed to them. How exciting to know the President is that close! Politics has become UGLY!

And not to mention the positive economic impact of his properties. Just the Ds whining again. What do you want from the hanging chad folks. The President fulfilled my main criteria on Election Day. He sent Hilary back to the woods. everything else he does is gravy

Oh..Boo bad Democraps County.....If you don't like it MOVE...I sure the Real Floridians here REALLY CARE of your Whining of Pres.Trump & Family...Palm Beach what have you done for Vets....ha thought so NOTHING.....In another hand the Writer of this article....What you Done For Veterans.....NOTHING just like your Democrap last Person OpieBama.....Just Whine & Bad Mouth...GET A LIFE....

Civility and patience has been slipping away for decades and unfortunately the society today expects changes instantaneously. We have also learned that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Today everyone is a squeaky wheel AND victim today. I am also old and I can hear my grandfather in my words. Tomorrow will not be like yesterday. All we can do is hope that more than one or two people learn history, embrace civility, and understand that society does not change over night.

I have 3 daughters who live on Oahu. If you have ever been there you know how small the island really is and how horrendous the traffic is on even a normal day let alone when a Presidential motorcade comes through. They shut down H3 so it can go from the West side where Air Force One lands to the East side where the small town of Kailua is and Obama rents a house (for $10,000 a night) It reeks havoc on the island. And heaven forbid Obama might want to go downtown Kailua for a shave ice. But, did the Hawaiian people protest and carry on and post signs alongside his route? No, (1) He grew up there (2) Hawaii is a heavily Democratic State. So, he could do no wrong! Just his Hawaiian vacation ALONE cost tax payers $35,000,000 over 8 years. Compare that to President Trump staying at his OWN HOME in Palm Beach. You can rest assured when he gets tax relief for Americans those Palm Beachers will be first in line!!! When he accomplishes affordable Healthcare, you know the Palm Beachers will be on board... but let's bitch because he held up your trip to the mahjong game. Hypocites.

So how many of the protesters actually live IN Palm Beach? And why should the rest of us care what a bunch of butthurt liberals do with their spare time?

I can't wait to see reports of the increase in tourism dollars flowing into Palm Beach and the number of jobs created there later this year. If the President's tax reform bill gets passed and includes removal of the unfair state and local tax deduction those blue high tax states have been enjoying at the expense of the low to no income tax states' expense, Florida including Palm Beach will boom with businesses and residents flocking out of high tax states to relocate in Texas and Florida. Trump making Palm Beach his Winter White House is a good thing for Palm Beach County and for Florida in general. All those beautiful pictures of Florida that get broadcast around the world when the President is in residence in Palm Beach is free advertising for our State. Too bad the mainstream media can't give our President credit for anything positive. So many people who limit their news sources to liberal newspapers and to network TV stations, CNN and MSNBC (I check them all out before returning to Fox) are missing out on all the good things this President has already done for us and the great things to come. The more money flows into our state, the better able we are to fund schools, roads, infrastructure and social services. We have to have a thriving economy to pay for government programs. It is just common sense. You don't have to like the man to like his policies. Give it a try. It will bring your blood pressure down. Maybe your choice of leader will make it to the White House next time. We have so many blessings to be thankful for this holiday season. Being more tolerant of differing viewpoints might be a good New Year's resolution to make.

"the unfair state and local tax deduction...enjoying at the expense of the low to no income tax states' expense".........You sound like "I got mine but you can't have yours." You sound like the incivility Nancy wrote about.

What do you expect from a solid demorat county. They have some the highest local taxes in the state. They voted hillary.

You fools in Florida are the people who sit on your ass and collect welfare and are the Democrats who loved the criminal Obama for giving you free? You who voted for Obama have an IQ of 20 points? Obama gave us 95 million out of work, muslim bastards terrorists in America, and you lazy bastards? The letter (D) stands for Dogshit. All Democrat politicians should have a (DS) in front of their name. It stands for Dogshit Scammers) And now the (S) stands for Sexual Perverts. Have you ever looked at Democrats and see how poorly dressed, without haircuts, and most of all so dirty very old looking. Democrats have made a career out of their lives by staying and raping their employee's? Do you voters really relate to a Socialist Democrat? Do you want to be known as a filthy Democrat. President Trump as done more in one month to benefit the country than Obama's 8 years ever did. Tell me where the 11 Trillion dollars are that Obama spent? Where are the new roads and bridges, airports that Obama was going to fix with the 823 billion Obama took for this repair, and gave it too the Unions, and to Iran. I saw the pallets of money that Obama sent on private secret air one night to Iran !!!! All Democrats in Wash DC need to be removed. I have never read about so many crooked people all LINKED together, working on one thing.... removing capitalism, the Constitution, and making themselves billionaires before the American people are just like the people of China, Russia, Yeman, Iran, North Korea. You Democrats have joined the Muslims as Cancer of and too the Earth. Kick the raper Connors out. He paid his prostitutes with tax dollars.

What a bunch of hypocrites in Palm Beach County! When he was elected, they couldn't get enough of themselves. Now, when he visits home they all cry and complain. Hypocrites, them all.

Very odd reaction by the local ingrates. Do not recall these protests when Jack & Jackie wintered here, especdially when you consider JFK put a bulls-eye on Palm Beach for Cuba's nuclear missiles to target. Nor Nixon retreats to Key Biscayne. Nor Harry Truman's winter respite in Key West. Manners and decorum are indeed in short supply on the island these days. Sad. Very sad..

Since that time this part of the state has been over run with immigrants and also new money. Neither group are known for their respect of anyone besides themselves.

Indeed, the nature of the Trump presidency is hardly one that inspires Americans to greater civility. If the President wants to be beloved beyond his base, he should make an effort to do so.

Trump is viciously attacked daily by the press and talking heads! Pathetic and sad! I have no problem with trump punching ( tweeting) back! GO TRUMP MAGA

Look at the population of Hyannis Port, Mass. in 1962 and the population of Palm Beach in 2017. How much larger the President's entourage is in 2017 than it was in 1962, is the security detail the same as it was in 1962? There is more of everything now and people are being crowded out.

Yes, the security detail is much larger. . . .because Kennedy and Reagan got shot. . .security increased. Also, Nancy has a good point. . . .we are losing our civility. . .

Actually, given the fundamental difference at every level between John Kennedy and Trump, it is a profound statement about that difference.


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nancy smith

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